Sunday, July 31, 2005

Government regulation for podcasting

I just finished a teaser for an upcoming series I’m planning on the future of podcasting and govenment regulation:

Does RSS and Podcasting tempt government regulators?

In the early days of the 1900’s most Americans were farmers and very familiar with “broadcasting”, the processing of spreading seeds by slinging them in a concentric circle, and this term was used to define the process of distributing information over the airwaves:

In the legal arena, courts have struggled to determine if existing broadcasting laws apply to the internet, and one of the major reasons cited for the difference between traditional broadcasting and the web was the “passive” nature of web pages, where you must actively find them via hyperlink or a search engine.

The future of the on-demand web

It's very clear that bloggers and traditional broadcasters may soon move onto the internet and a few key future developments will foster this issue:

  • The delivery of nationwide satellites that provides wireless web across all of the USA
  • The incorporation of TV and Radio devices to feed from the wireless internet satellite

I’m currently researching techniques to make this blog more professional, including video and audio technology, using my new Mac G5 and a professional video set-up. When the internet bandwidth increases, I'll be ready:

I’m also experimenting with automated incorporation of voice recognition (VR) software into my blog audio, so that the hearing impaired might get a chance to see my face while reading the text of my compelling arguments:

As a licensed FCC radio operator and pilot, and I’m familiar with all of the confounding rules and regulations of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Trust me, we don't need the oppressive "Uncle Charley" coming-in and regulating the web . . .

The FCC and Obscenity

Because blogs may be considered a form of broadcast media, all blog operators have to be careful not to violate the strict FCC guidelines for content delivery and obscenity. This link has great examples of obscenity rules for broadcasters:

Material is offensive if it offends the "average" broadcast viewer or listener. Commission staff, and ultimately the Commissioners themselves, decide what the average person finds offensive. Examples of the Commission's findings include:

  • popular songs which contain repeated references to sex or sexual organs (e.g., "I Want To Be A Homosexual," "Penis Envy," "Walk With An Erection," "Erotic City," "Jet Boy Jet Girl," "Makin' Bacon");
  • DJ banter concerning tabloid sex scandals (e.g., Vanessa Williams' photographs in Penthouse and a honeymooner whose testicle was caught in a hot tub drain);
  • discussions between DJs and callers concerning intimate sexual questions (e.g., "What makes your hiney parts tingle?"; "What's the grossest thing you ever put in your mouth?");
  • dirty jokes or puns ("Liberace was great on the piano but sucked on the organ");
  • non-clinical references to gay or lesbian sex, masturbation, penis or breast size, sodomy, erections, orgasms, etc; description or simulation of various sexual acts;
  • and the seven dirty words (sh*t, f**k, p*ss, c*nt, c**ksucker, motherf**ker, t*ts).

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Remarkable Coincidences

I’m not a numerologist, but some things just “creep me out”, like related facts that have a probability of being “accidental” at more than one in a billion. Is it the hand of God, or just people struggling to explain things? There are some fascinating web sires devoted to amazing coincidences.

But we don't have to look far to find more amazing coincidences. . . .

Declaration of Independence Signers

Also, did you know that the only two presidents who signed the Declaration of Independence both died on the 4th of July, exactly 50 years after signing date:

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die on Independence Day

Lincoln’s son

Abe Lincoln’s son, Robert Todd Lincoln, was not only present at his father’s assignation, but he also witnessed the assignations of two other U.S. Presidents, Garfield and McKinley:

I’ll bet that ole R.T Lincoln did not get invited to the While House to much after that. . .

Lincoln & Kennedy

Of course, we are all familiar with the almost unbelievable relationships of Presidents “Lincoln” and “Kennedy”, almost too creepy to be just common coincidences:

Abraham Lincoln was elected to Congress in 1846.
John F. Kennedy was elected to Congress in 1946.

Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860.
John F. Kennedy was elected President in 1960.

The names Lincoln and Kennedy each contain seven letters.

Both were particularly concerned with civil rights.

Both wives lost their children while living in the White House.

Both Presidents were shot on a Friday.

Both were shot in the head.

Lincoln's secretary, Kennedy, warned him not to go to the theatre.
Kennedy's secretary, Lincoln, warned him not to go to Dallas.

Both were assassinated by Southerners.

Both were succeeded by Southerners.

Both successors were named Johnson.

Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Lincoln, was born in 1808.
Lyndon Johnson, who succeeded Kennedy, was born in 1908.

John Wilkes Booth was born in 1839.
Lee Harvey Oswald was born in 1939.

Both assassins were known by their three names.

Both names are comprised of fifteen letters

Booth ran from the theater and was caught in a warehouse.
Oswald ran from a warehouse and was caught in a theater.

Booth and Oswald were assassinated before their trials.

Creepy, huh? Or is it just a remarkable coincidence?

I’ve always wondered if it is just humans trying to make sense of the unexplained, searching in-vain for meaning where there is none, or whether it’s the hand of an unseen force, gently remaining us that there is indeed a universal power ruling our universe.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Demonization of the South

Many folks are surprised to learn that some Southern children are taught to dislike Abe Lincoln and General Sherman.

Last year Janet and I took her mother to New York City, and we were approaching the giant golden stature at Central Park South. As soon as she recognized that it was a statue of Sherman on horseback, she said something like “Oh my, it’s that awful man”, and we reversed our course immediately, lest she get a closer look at the evil monster who destroyed the South, raping and pillaging innocent non-combatents. Sherman is an offensive image to most southerners.

Frankly, I find the statue of Sherman to be another example of the offensive ”big lie” perpetrated by Abe Lincoln. The gaudy statue shows Sherman being guided by an Angel, guiding his mission to crush the inherently evil Southerners. Thousands of people believe that this statue is offensive to all of the Blacks who died fighting for the Confederacy, and many feel that this statue should be torn-down and replaced by a statue of a "real" hero:

Me, I’m a fan of Audie Murphy, the teenaged medal-of-honor hero who was the most highly-decorated soldier of the 20th century:

If you have never seen the movie ”To Hell and Back” or been to the Audie Murphy Museum, I highly recommend it.

"To Hell and Back" is an amazing movie as you get a chance to watch Audie playing himself and you get a glimpse into the mind-set of a real American Hero:

You can buy a copy of ”To Hell and Back” on eBay.

A Reality Check

Many people feel hatred toward “Mr. Lincoln”, especially after the Emancipation Proclamation. To this day, most folks think that the Civil War was about slavery, and it is the sole handiwork of Lincoln's dishonest politics. A review of a few facts:
  • At the start of the Civil War in 1861 slavery was legal in both the North and South.

  • Lincoln said many times that if he could end the war without freeing a single slave, that he would do so.

  • Three years into the bloody conflict, Lincoln was having a hard time finding soldiers who were willing to die for “States Rights”, and sympathy for the South was increasing.

  • In 1863 Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, a document that ONLY freed SOUTHERN SLAVES! That’s right, the Emancipation Proclamation did not affect Yankee slaves, and the North continued to have slavery, all the while condemning us “evil” southerners:

    For political reasons, the proclamation did not free slaves in the states that supported the Union. Nor did it free slaves in the areas around Norfolk, Virginia, and New Orleans, Louisiana.

  • Yankee slaves were not freed until AFTER the Civil War by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States on the 18th of December, 1865.
Lincoln believed that by making the Southerners into “Demons”, he would create a bright-line of Good vs. Evil. With a broad stroke of marketing hype worthy of P.T. Barnum, Lincoln sold-out the South with the “big lie”, and it worked. Yankee soldiers were now doing “God’s Work”, singing songs like “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.

Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
His truth is marching on.

A Load of Crap worthy of Hitler

Following the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation it was the North that had unfreed slaves, not the other way around. It’s the same “Big Lie” theory that Hitler used 70 years later to oppress the Jewish people in his bestseller “Mein Kamph”:

This technique, he believed, consisted of telling a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe anyone "could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously". The first documented use of the phrase "big lie" is in the corresponding passage: "in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility".¹.

Hitler’s big lie worked, and Mein Kampf sold like hotcakes, making Hitler a millionaire.

The Big Lie continues

Even today, us Southerners suffer the indignities of being know as “the side that supported slavery”, when the truth was almost the exact opposite. Many freed slaves fought for the Confederacy, and like me, many Southern black people are proud to be members of the great group, “Son’s of Confederate Veterans”:

“Spotsylvania resident Willie Levi Casey Jr. is an African-American member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and proud to be Southern.”

I hope that people who read this will finally understand our hatred of “Dishonest Abe” and how his politics have forever demonized the South, a battle against ignorance that we continue to fight over 140 years after Sherman raped the South.

The Shameful Lie lives on at Gettysburg

Gettysburg is another example of the demonization of the South, and I continue to lobby for equal-treatment and honor for the soldiers who died on both sides. On my first visit to Gettysburg I left in a Huff after learning that the Southerners bodies were dumped into mass graves while Yankees dead were given the place of honor.

Both of my Great-Grandpa’s fought at Gettysburg, and they found slavery to be just as repulsive as any Yankee. By the way, if you ever want to have a life-changing experience, visit the Gettysburg National Park.

As an interesting side note, there were yearly reunions of Gettysburg veterans for many years, every July 4th. Both Yankees and Confederates took to wearing long beards as instantly-recognizable signs of their status of Civil War veterans, as shown here by my Great-Grandpa, John Wesley Burleson, a member of the famous Stanly County Yankee Hunters:

The Yankees and Confederates became friends and shared the details of their shared tribulations for decades afterwards, the last reunion being held in 1938, over 70 years later. However, there was one ugly incident at a Gettysburg reunion, where a bunch of elderly vets re-started the battle in a local restaurant, throwing food and clobbering each-other with their canes and walking sticks!

So, let’s set the record straight.

It was the North, not the South, who was the real evil in the Civil War.

Me, I’ve been collecting Confederate war bonds and currency for years, just in-case:


By the Way, since we were speaking of Hollerin, the famous “Rebel Yell” was a form of Hollerin, often the last sound heard by Yankees before being dispatched. Here is the only surviving recording of the Rebel Yell from an actual confederate soldier:

Rebel Yell - Long Version (36 Seconds, 3MB)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Hollering and Whistling in North Carolina

Hollering and whistling are required skills in rural North Carolina and they date-back for centuries.

At the end of the last Ice Age, the retreating glaciers left hundreds of small grooved valleys that the English settlers dubbed “Hollows”. Before the age of the telegraph, important news was spread for hundreds of miles by “Hollerin” the news to your neighbor in the next hollow.

Famous Hollers

The most famous Holler in North Carolina is “Booger Hollar” (a.k.a. “Dark Mountain”), where the Booger family had lived for centuries and is said to be haunted with the spirits of dead Boogers:

"The oldtimers call it the Dark Mountain, or Booger Hollar. Anyway, there are some places here that you avoid by instinct. Not fear really, they just kind of repell you around them."

Please don’t confuse Booger Hollar with the equally famous “Booger Mountain”, where the Boogers grow Christmas trees. Everyone is familiar with the Booger’s slogan “Have a Booger Mountain Christmas”.

Seriously, Booger Mountain is a multi-million dollar business, and many North Carolina natives resent the mass-marketing of Booger Mountain Christmas trees. I love the signs the competitors use, reminding us “Don’t pick a Booger”:

We have over a dozen workers spread-out over more than 60 acres (about twice the size of Ellis Island, in New York Harbor), and being able to holler can save you a 20-minute walk. (Our horse trainers don’t carry cell phones because an unexpected ring might spook our high-strung Arabian horses).

Whistlin’ Heaven

Just 10 miles up the road is Louisburg North Carolina, home of the famous “International Whistling Convention”. They even did a movie about it titled “Pucker Up: The Fine Art of Whistling”. Each year, celebrity whistlers come-in from all over the world, turning sleepy Louisburg into a paparazzi haven. They even have a “whistle” soda:

Andy Griffith chose the a-capella whistling theme song for his hit show “Andy of Mayberry” to honor the ancient whistlers of North Carolina, and every year they have a reunion at Mt. Airy (the “real” Mayberry”):

Here is the official International Whistler Convention web site. It’s loads of fun, second only to “Mule Days”, where we borrow Henry the Mule and ride into a town that does not allow cars or horses, only mules and hairy Asses.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Are You Trustworthy?

I’m working on activating security clearances for some folks, and I was impressed by the stringent criteria for SECRET and TOP SECRET clearances. After the John Walker spy fiasco, they have really tightened-up on the already stringent requirements.

Even a SECRET clearance application is 30 pages long and takes days to fill-out, as you must list every place you ever resided for more than a few weeks in your whole life. A TOP SECRET clearance is even more rigorous and can take years to complete.

Check this out, and see if you can be trusted with government secrets:

Are you Trustworthy?

I love the long list of “disqualifying conditions”, and it is somewhat similar to the pre-employment background checks that Janet runs on job candidates. I especially like these:

Problems in Work Performance: The work environment offers many opportunities to exhibit behavioral or psychological problems associated with unreliability, untrustworthiness, or poor judgment.

Employment History: Depending upon an individual's age and circumstances, frequent changes of employment without advancement raise the possibility of unsatisfactory work performance due to dishonesty, irresponsibility, drug use, emotional/mental problems, or other issues of security concern.

Multiple Traffic Offenses: Multiple traffic citations for reckless or high-speed driving, including driving with a suspended license, are examples of high-risk, antisocial behavior that may be a security concern.

Borderline personality disorder: It appears that the Federal agencies are getting better at identifying the personality types that are prone to betray their government. The principal characteristics of borderline personality disorder are:

  • Unwarranted fear of rejection or abandonment, usually associated with low self-esteem. Such persons are uncomfortable alone. Examples of such behavior include inappropriate anger when someone important to them must cancel an appointment, or panic at a temporary separation.
  • A pattern of unstable relationships with friends, lovers, or bosses. Such persons need a great deal of nurturing and support from any relationship. They may initially idolize someone who provides that nurturing, but then shift suddenly and dramatically to view that same person as hostile or cruel if they do not care enough or are not "there" enough for them.

Degeneration of Society?

There is lots of discussion about the high crime rates of the 21st century. Middle-aged folks reminisce about those “golden days”, way back when they were kids in the more-innocent times of the 1950’s and 1960’s. We could run freely through the neighborhood without our parents worrying about psychos and sex predators. Here is a wonderful audio book titled “America in the 1950’s”:

Monday, July 18, 2005

Burleson Dress Code becomes professional standard

I’ve just been notified that my company dress code has become popular.

I’ve granted permission to several professors to use my content, and my dress code is required reading at several university business schools, mostly because the graduates these days dress like this:

I know, I know, it’s my innate good looks and impeccable taste, but I don’t want people to get the wrong impression. I’m not a stickler for formal dress at home or at the office, and I often enjoy the freedom of working naked in my office:

It really helps me keep-down unexpected visitors and Linda Webb never walks-in on me without knocking anymore. Working nude is stimulates your creativity, and it’s an integral part of my quest for red neck nirvana . . .

Creepy Face?

Now I can understand that my good-looks have also prompted this meteoric rise to the top of the Google heap (plus my great taste and sense of professional style, of course), but I’m a tad concerned that my stock photo is deemed “creepy” and that some people say that my standard stock photo make me look like a “used car salesman”:

- ”While it is true that Donald Burleson is a little scary looking, he knows his Oracle.”

- “It may be just me, but somebody looking like a
used-car salesman, should be quiet. Especially if he looks like this when working from home.”

I love kids and animals too. Here’s a picture of me and Cuddles (a Guide Horse), who loves to climb-up into my Bark-o-lounger to watch TV with me:

We even allow the animals to use our bathroom. Now I ask you, creepy people would not be that altruistic, right?

Holier than Thou?

I’m thinking that I might change my stock photograph. After watching an episode of “The Simpson’s” (the one where Homer gets ordained so that he can open a wedding chapel), I decided to check it out.

I found the Universal Life Church Monastery, who offers online ordination to anyone who can pass their rigorous monastic ordination requirements (your payment clears):

I like collecting occupational licenses, and I discovered that to conduct a wedding in North Carolina you must be a Justice of the Peace, the captain of a ship at-sea or an ordained minister. Since I never know when I might need to conduct a wedding (food for thought for anyone with a teenaged daughter). Anyway, I decided to get ordained.

For those of you with kids who liked my fun rhymes, (I slit a sheet, a sheet I slit, upon a slitted sheet I sit), try this one, three time, real fast:

“six stick shifts stuck shut”

Whoa! Try this with a group of first-graders and watch the laughs!

Also, I’m hearing from some beta testers about the new Windows “Longhorn” and it’s expanded list of error messages. My personal favorite has always been “Windows has detected an unknown device and is installing a driver for it”, but there are some new ones coming too, I hear:

- Error parsing error list; waiting for next error
- Error buffer overflow. Too many errors

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The greatest pick-up line in history

In Florida, a blind man has admitted having sex with his guide dog and inviting a neighborhood woman to join him and his assistance dog “Lucky” in a 3-way doggie “ménage – a – twat”:

Man allegedly has sex with guide dog

“Yoder, who lives in a local apartment complex, last month asked a female acquaintance to join him in a sex act with the dog, a male yellow Labrador named "Lucky."”

Now, how did the smooth-talking blind guy approach the lovely miss and suggest a 3-way with a dog? Man, I wish that I was fly-on-the-wall for that, probably the best pickup line in history:

“Hey baby, want to get lucky with Lucky”?

Whatever was said, it has to be among the best pick-up lines in the history of dating. But evidently Yoder’s come-on failed, leading to his arrest:

“She demurred, but later told a friend about it. That person called a social worker, who called police.”

Yeah, I'll bet she told lots of folks about it. From the story, it almost looks like the fellow did not know that it was wrong:

“Investigators spoke to Yoder on June 16, who admitted performing certain sex acts with the dog, even going into detail with them, but denied doing others.”

Guess what? It’s NOT ILLEGAL! Florida has no bestiality laws. . . . I mean, really, I would have missed that one too – who would think to pass laws about something so weird?

“It shall be a felony for anyone to engage in sexual relations with Anteaters, Aardvarks, . . . and Zebras”

Personally, I think that the practice of using guide animals for non-traditional tasks should be prohibited:

And in some cultures being “beastly” is not as frowned-upon as it is in the USA. Here is a case where someone died after being intimate with livestock:

Man dies after sex with horse

“A Seattle man died after engaging in anal sex with a horse at a farm suspected of being a gathering place for people seeking to have sex with livestock, police said on Friday.

The horse involved in the incident was not harmed, and an autopsy of the unnamed man concluded that "the manner of death was accidental ... due to perforation of the colon," a police spokesman said.”

As my daughter would say, Ewww. . .

To further confound the system, Yoder has plead not guilty to animal cruelty charges, and I’ll wager the this guy will wrap himself in the Americans with Disabilities Act (the A.D.A) and he might plead that he will loose his mobility aid (the abused “Lucky”) if he is ordered to stay-away from dogs to avoid any subsequent sexual arousal. . . .

As a volunteer with the Guide Horse Foundation, part of my work is pre-screening Guide Horse applicants, and one of our worst nightmares is that we might place a guide with someone who might abuse their animal.

I’m thinking that guide animals should be automated like this prototype:

Friday, July 15, 2005

Selling horse manure for profit

I have over 40 horses, and I have several hundred tons of horse poopie laying around. In total, my horses eat about 30 bales of hay a day, and each bale weights about 55 pounds. By my calculations (and factoring-in moisture, I get about 30*55*365 ~= 600,000 pounds, or about 300 tons of horse patootie each year). Here we see facts about horse manure:

"An average 1,000-pound horse produces 9 tons of manure a year containing valuable fertilizer elements."

We call it Poo Mountain. It’s actually more like poo ridge, about 15 feet high and 50 yards long. I was at Home Depot last week and horse manure was selling for a dollar a pound. Unlike dog crap, horse poo has a clean, fresh small, and it’s not gross at all. As you may know, horseshit is regulated by a Manure Union, and I’ll have to negotiate with them for sales:

This product idea also came to mind, perhaps a safer alternative to tobacco:

The only problem is that manure bagging machines cost more than $30,000, so I'm thinking that old-fashioned shovels and burlap bags might do the trick.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Making Snap Judgements

Being able to quickly “size-up” a person is one of the toughest skills in business. The ability to quickly access the personality and intent of a person is a skill so important that almost every successful executive will tell you that reading body language and facial expressions is a critical skill.

The FBI teaches this all-important skill, and cameras are now used in airports, hooked to software that analyzes facial expressions of passengers:

“In an attempt to prevent terrorists from boarding commercial planes, scientists are developing a device that can detect and record facial expressions that show fear and other emotions.”

But it’s not just the F.B.I. and law enforcement who need to make snap jusgements. . .

Remember the scene in the Thomas Harris book “Silence of the Lambs” where Hannibal Lecter makes eerily accurate snap judgments about Clarice Starling? Hannibal the Cannibal has become one of the most frightening characterizations of evil, primarily because of his high intellect and his uncanny ability to quickly access the personality of strangers.

In one memorable scene, Hannibal (Anthony Hopkins) makes an eerie assessment of Clarice Starling (played in the movie by Jody Foster):

“You're so-o ambitious, aren't you? You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well-scrubbed, hustling rube, with a little taste.

Good nutrition's given you some length of bone, but you're not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling? And that accent you've tried so desperately to shed - pure West Virginia. What does your father do? Is he a coal miner? Does he stink of the lamp?
You know how quickly the boys found you. All those tedious, sticky fumblings in the back seats of cars, while you could only dream of getting out. Getting anywhere, getting all the way to the F...B...I.”

Personality Assessment Tests

Mental health professionals are trained at person assessment, and a well-trainer personality evaluator can often seem frightening and magical. The Minnesota Multiphasic personality Inventory MMPI test is a set of 500 true/false questions that accesses personality with remarkable validity, and it's results are accepted in all U.S. courts.

For example, your preference to take showers vs. baths is an extremely reliable measure of self-esteem, and other scales such as the "Mach" scale that measures how manipulative you are (based on the bestselling book "The Prince" by Machiavelli. Here is an excellent overview of the MMPI scales and how they access your personality with eerie accuracy.

Liar, Liar. . .

Formally, a snap judgment is call a “Cold Reading”, and you can infer amazing things about people with simple observation skills. Scientists have now taken-up and formalized this skill and confirmed that facial expressions can be reliably interpreted to tell when someone is lying, and noted that most people don’t have this skill:

“People don't seem to be very good at spotting deception signals. On average, over hundreds of laboratory studies, participants distinguish correctly between truths and lies only about 55 percent of the time.”

For more details, check-out my articles on these important topics:

Monday, July 11, 2005

Parasite Pals

I was strolling through the “Dollar Store” yesterday and I noticed that there is a new line of kid’s toys here in North Carolina called “Parasite Pals”.

They are really cute, and rural North Carolina kid’s can now get fuzzy dolls that make them feel better about their own internal parasites. Marketing genius!

We have “Dig Dig” the head louse, and “Blinkey” the eyelash mite:

My personal favorite is “Tickles” the tapeworm. . .

Seriously, even people from third-world countries are disgusted by how some native North Carolinians live, and even the itinerant Mexican farmhands tell me that they can’t wait to get “back home” to civilization. Anyway, Parasite Pals are a big hit here, and I just love this desk set accessory:

Swear to God, there have been cases of Rabies in our county lately, and I have to gets all sorts of third-world vaccinations that are normally reserved for researchers in Borneo. People can get worm’s too, and around here, some fat people will deliberately ingest tapeworm “caps”, allowing the worms to feed directly from their intestines:

I’m not joking. Swallowing tapeworm caps does aid in weight loss, a new type of parasite pal and a Hollywood craze:

“The latest fad to strike the diet-crazed citizens of Beverly Hills consists of ingesting larval tapeworms in raw pork, beef, and fish dishes at trendy Los Angeles restaurants.

"You can eat whatever you want and never worry," confides one dieter who claims to have lost 73 pounds in eight days.”

I did not know that other parasites carry worms inside them, leading to a vicious cycle.

Our Yorkie dawg, “Noel” has her own parasite pals, and the worms keep coming-back every time she gets fleas. According to Dr. O’Malley, the fleas ingest the tapeworm larvae that are expelled from the tapeworm caps, and when the dog swallows a pesky flea, the cycle starts again.

Today I have to “bomb” the house and car to nuke those nasty fleas, so I’ll be spending the bulk of today outside. . .

Speaking of bombings, what was “Al Queda” thinking when they bombed London? Don’t they remember what the Brits did to the last people who tried it?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Biased european media

I’ve been watching the CNN reports of the horrible terrorist attack in London, and I’m sad to say that I’m becoming disillusioned with the “spin” of the media.

Today they focused on an American who is missing in London, and it seemed like they were forgetting the 50+ British citizens who perished. Thankfully I can get the BBC, and I saw a whole new side to the terror, with interviews from King’s Cross (the main subway station where the most deaths occurred).

Many have noted the “liberal bias” in the American News media, but it’s most interesting to see the world from the eyes of a foreign national. I wish I’d been forced into learning a foreign language in school like the Europeans, as I basically “stuck” in English speaking countries because of communications problems.

USA public schools suck

Even my son, who had three-years of German classes, cannot even put a coherent German sentence together. When pressed, I discovered that his classes were all-about THEORY, sentence structure, etc., with no focus on actually SPEAKING GERMAN, the whole point.

When I visit Germany, I bring this “pocket electronic translator” doo-dad where you can choose a phrase in English and it “speaks it” in Deutsch. Cool right? When I use it the German’s say "Ist Gut, Ist Gut", and then proceed to reply in German words that I cannot understand. . . .

I had great fun with it. I would type-in phrases like "Can you give me an enema, please?" and play it to German's on the street, all while acting as-if I was asking for directions. . .

I've been saving-up for the “Berlitz Study Abroad” implosion courses where you live in a German home for a few weeks, and allegedly come-out with some sense of how to understand and speak German. Why can’t they teach some “real-world” skills in Colleges today?

Oh, I couldn’t get any valuable language classes for my kids either, like Greek or Latin. Even in College, I could only get them to take a "survey" class, taught by Prof. Steven Cerutti, the author of the bestselling “Cicero: Pro Archia Poeta Oratio” book (Do you like Greek puns?). But is it’s not a bad course, and it is one of the most popular classes on campus, and for very good reason.

Press Freedom Curtailed?

With all of the hoopla about Karl Rowe and the imprisonment of a confidential news source, what’s with all of this “Chicken Little” crap in the press? For God’s sake, we are talking about disclosing their identity of an undercover CIA agent!

Me, I think that disclosing a CIA agent should be punishable by death (many CIA agents are killed after their disclosure), but hey, I also thought that the military should have imprisoned Geraldo Rivera for treason for disclosing U.S. troop locations.

Check out this link, “Geraldo Betrayo”. . . Errr.. . . .

American Dad!

Speaking of Karl Rowe and the C.I.A., I just love the new FOX TV show “American Dad”. It’s is classic comedy, and clearly written by someone with insight far beyond the I.Q. of the target audience.

I’m betting that the writers of “American Dad!” have had teenage kid’s, as some of the wet-your-pants jokes could only have been done by the parents of teens:

“Dad, can you get a little MORE insane?”

Only a real Dad could have written that. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of viewing “American Dad!”, it’s the daily stories of a typical CIA agent who loves in suburbia with his wife, teenaged kids, and a live-in space alien named Roger (who sounds just like “whiney effeminate” Paul Lynde from the Hollywood Squares TV show of the 1970’s).

Really, just click here and listen to Roger talk. It's Paul Lynde parody, no question.

Now, here’s my point. American Dad is targeted at teens, but it’s clearly written by some far more worldly, like a ”real” American Dad who remembers ole Paul Lynde, and his genius for hilarous snitty tirades:

See where I’m going? My generation is dictating “cool” to the teens! YeeHaw! For example, consider the scene in which American Dad! Has Karl Rowe doing a hilarious performance when Stan seeks to be elected Deacon of his “Episcopalian” church (get it? Understand why “Episcopalian” is funny? My kid’s don’t. . . )

Neither of my kids read much news (I try though, and mail then weekly copies of Newsweek, which they seldom read), and they had no idea who Karl Rowe is, nor why the scene was funny. . .

Whenever my own “worldly adults” (ages 19 and 20) diss me, I remind myself that the “cool” TV shows (and music) are written by folks my-age. . .

Friday, July 08, 2005

Off to Scuba School. . .

I’m the only person in my family who is not a certified scuba diver, and I always thought that I was immune to scuba diving because I have a ruptured eardrum from an accident:

Many advise that you should not scuba with a ruptured eardrum, but I got a special device that will hopefully keep my ear dry while I'm underwater. Conventional wisdom says that the risks of Barotitus can lead to permanent loss of hearing, plus it's painful as hell to get water in your middle ear, believe me.

I did my first dive at Key Largo a few weeks back, and it was AWFUL! Because I’m pear-shaped, the weights would not stay around my waist, and because I’m so buoyant (read “fat”), that I needed 40 pounds of lead to sink! Plus, I have to wear a choking full-head rubber mask (to hold my earplug in-place), and it squeezes my head like crazy and makes me dizzy. It looks sorta like this, with a cut-out for my face:

Most of my friends and co-workers scuba dive like Robert Freeman, Harry Conway and John Garmany (who is a certified scuba instructor). I’m getting lots of pressure to join-in on the fun.

Diving in North Carolina is among the best in the world, and we are considered the top place in the world for wreck diving, with hundreds of wrecks off on Cape Hatteras.

“Bathed by the clear, warm waters of the Gulf Stream, the coast of North Carolina offers some of the best scuba and wreck diving in the United States.”

But it's not just the ocean. Our local lakes are full of treasures too. Here is a German wreck from our local waters:

Me, I want to get those cool full face masks that let you talk underwater via a walkie-talkie, and they are only $1,500 each:

Of course, you have to buy two of them if you want to talk to anybody, so it gets pricey real-fast! Hopefully, I’ll survive the weekend and get-started in my quest to join my underwater friends and family. . .

From the Mailbag:

I’ve received several queries from folks wanting to get-in on my sale of several hundred tons of horse manure, and I’m thinking of featuring poo-mountain on eBay.

I’ll run the potential profit numbers and do a post next week. . .

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Wi-Fi and marketing genius

With the epidemic of unsecured wireless networks being used as platforms for illegal attacks, and we see that lawyers and victims are fighting back. In many cases, the crooks simply set-up a portable wi-fi Starbucks and wait for the suckers to connect.

The bad guys them plant password sniffers on your laptop computer and sit-back while the PC e-mails all of your ssh passwords to an overseas address. It happens everyday, and victims and law enforcement are fighting-back:

  • Unauthorized access to a computer network becomes a felony – Even casual access to an unsecured wireless network in a hotel can destroy your career. You can be arrested on-the-spot, even if you have no criminal intent (other than stealing their bandwidth, of course). In Canada, it’s called Theft of Telecommunications.
  • Victims are suing hapless wi-fi homeowners - Hacking victims now have a cause-of-action against the owners of wireless networks that have been used as access points to commit crimes. If you manage a computer network, you are responsible, and your at-home wi-fi cannot serve as an open-relay for bad guys. It’s called “negligence”. . . . .

For the scary details, read my full article “Unauthorized Network access becomes a felony”.

The Accidental Felon

We are now seeing a backlash against those who tap-into unsecured wireless networks for evil purposes, and local police are now arresting those who tap-into unsecured wireless networks. This scares me because of “Barney Fife” police, quick to arrest people. Barney Fife is the epitomization of every over-zealous, rule-based small-town sheriff.

Don Knotts work on the Andy Griffith Show was a 1950’s TV hit that made Mayberry synonymous with the idyllic “small town anywhere”, and it made Andy Griffith and Don Knotts sex symbols. I kid you not, these guys attract beautiful women like files on poo. Also, it’s an inside-joke among North Carolinians that Andy Griffith chose real-world North Carolina clan names for his characters, using native names like “Pyle” and “Taylor” and “Crump”.

The threat of arrest aside, I would not want to be one of those goofs whose defense is that they did not know that connecting to an unsecured network was not a crime? Hey, why accidentally commit a felony? Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and it makes you look stupid, too. . . .

Going after negligent wi-fi administrators

This year I’ve been talking to the FBI Cybercrine agents and federal attorneys on a foreign “John Doe” subpoena, and we are hearing that even if the attacker used an unsecured wireless network (or an “open relay” by a negligent ISP), the victims can still collect damages from the hapless owners of the unsecured wireless network. That makes sense.

In most cases, your homeowner’s policy will cover damages up to $250,000, but a major attack could cause you to loose everything, including your house and life-savings. For me, it’s not worth the risk. Protect your wireless network with “real” security, and don’t just hop onto any unsecured wireless that your computer detects.

BTW, for the really paranoid, there are other unique Wi-fi intrusion detection tools that offer “practical mind protection for paranoids”, across the globe, like this one for only $12.95.

For more information on identifying paranoid schizophrenics on the web see my new book, ”Web Stalkers: Protect yourself from Internet Criminals and Psychopaths”. It’s only $19.95, and a great read too.

Marketing Genius in-action

On a related subject, this guy gets my award for marketing creativity, for innovation anyway. At you can get a variety of dog doo mailed anonymously to anyone you desire. I’m told that it’s a popular gift for ex-wives, bosses and mothers-in-law. Here is their top-10 list of gift recipients. Check it out:

Me, I like the “poo poo grande” special, and the ever-popular "Poo Poo platter":

"World Famous Hand-Crafted Dog Poop Not fake dog doo ~ a work of art!"

You can get the t-shirt too, a great gift:

Pure genius, cleaning up the back yards and making a few bucks too. This fellow has been in business for many years, and I heard that he has had to get a 4th dog to keep-up with the demand. . . . Seriously, this guy has been featured in TIME magazine.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

There’s no substitute for experience

I’m in the middle of the book “Freakonomics” written by two fellows from the Chicago School, and it brings back fond memories of my work as a Graduate Assistant, helping professors model the real-world by empirical research and spinning hundreds of data tapes. I love the apples-to-oranges analogy on the cover:

In a nutshell, Freakonomics is a study exposing “bad science”, namely, the pervasive pseudo scientists who postulate theories using artificial “proofs” while never bothering to look at the real-world to discover hidden causation.

The authors show how studying the real-world is the ONLY way to tease-out models of behavior, whether it’s a model for locating cheaters or the behavior of computer software. The book shows several wonderful examples of how real-world experimentation disclosed the hidden model and emphasizes the perils of ivory-tower research and making artificial universes.

This is supposed to be "the" Ivory Tower we all talk about.

The proof is in the data, stupid!

How soon we forget. Remember the old saying “The proof is in the pudding”? It derives from "the proof of the pudding is in the eating". This is the ultimate statement about the truth of empiricism:

“the true value or quality of something can only be judged when it's put to use. The meaning is often summed up as "results are what count."”

Let’s face it, there is no substitute for real-world sampling, and real scientists will tell you that “numbers don’t lie” and that “the proof is in the data”.

I’m constantly amazed at the dimwits who propagate the foolhardy notion that “experience” can somehow be derived by research, especially in the database software arena. I feel bad for people who are not allowed access to a real production computer, I really do, and it’s a real Catch-22 that most shops won’t take you unless you already have demonstrable, verifiable experience with real-world systems.

Let's start requiring experience again

Many years ago I got a database certification and I had to get a signed affidavit from my boss verifying that I had more than 5 years of full-time experience. Good idea, right? Yes, a great idea for the certification to have value to the employer, but bad news for the company making money by selling certifications because it eliminated 75% of the possible profits from wannabees.

Today, this vendor refuses to require certifiable experience, I believe, because it lowers their profits. Sigh. . . More on certifications tomorrow. . . .

Monday, July 04, 2005

One terrorist is another mans patriot

If we recall the battle of Bunker Hill, the British commander (Gen. Howe) lost over 1,000 redcoats and he was appalled at our “dishonorable” fighting techniques. The minutemen refused to wear brightly-colored coats and line-up in formation for easy picking-off. Instead, we hid in trees and behind natural cover, killing redcoats from as far-away as 200 yards, using the latest rifled muskets (that’s quite a shot, even by today’s standards, if you consider the distance to the pin of a 200-yard golf hole). This sums-up how the Brits felt about us Revolutionary scallywags:

"Gage blamed the extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices. The governor, who described the group's organizers as "criminals," issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the government's efforts to secure law and order."

American Terrorist Cells

Patriots like “John the Painter” conducted arson against British ships, and we ruthlessly hid-out and bombed the Brits from a safe distance, killing and destroying with free abandon.

It’s no wonder that King George sent 23,000 troops to quash these terrorists when they invaded New York City, a beach assault so large that it held the world-record until the Normandy invasion, 169 years later. It stunned Geo. Washington, who was forced to retreat to New Jersey, where he watched 2,000 of his men get captured at Harlem Hill, standing right at the current location of the toll booths on the Jersey side of the George Washington bridge (really, I study this stuff).

BTW, NYC is loaded with Revolutionary War battle sites, such as the intersection of Canal and Mott in Chinatown where Alexander Hamilton fought bravely. Today it’s honored by a historical marker, right next to Wan’s fish market and the phony Rolex dealers.

No mercy for those who give aid and comfort to the enemy

As you might expect, the British were appalled at our horrendous manners and refusal on honor the “code of warfare”. In an excellent article titled “Sons of Liberty – Patriots or Terrorists?” we see that our Revolutionary ancestors were indeed considered terrorists, and treated accordingly.
Just like today, the military rationalized extreme measures against the terrorist colonists, killing the wives and children of known terrorists, and suspending the rules of traditional warfare. Remember the heartbreaking scene in the Mel Gibson movie “The Patriot” where the British soldiers burn a church full of women and children? Scholars suggest that this scene was taken from 1944 the real-life massacre at Oradour sur Glane in France where the retreating Nazi’s forced all the French women and kids into a church and burned it to the ground.

Dehumaniizing the Terrorists

Our ancestors were considered to be terrorists by the loyalists, plain and simple, and every Revolutionary War soldier who signed his enlistment papers put his families’ lives on-the-line (there were eight Burleson’s who served in the American Revolution).

Just like Americans de-humanize Al Qaeda today, some folks use the label of “terrorist” to justify all sorts of offensive bigotry. Interestingly, the British leveraged on the “de-humanization” of those that they repressed, as noted in the shocking book “Paddy’s Lament”, a very provacative book.

In my travels to Ireland I discovered that many Irish believe that Queen Victoria permitted a holocaust (the great potatoe famine) that dwarfed the evil of Hitler, and they consider her to be one of the most reviled monsters of the 19th century. British cartoons of the day depicted the Irish as Chimp-like and sub-human: My older copy of Paddy’s Lament shows a British cartoon of the monkey-like Irishman, but it’s been removed from the cover by the publisher, because it was too offensive.

"Those unfamiliar with the history may be surprised to discover that the English for a long time (til today?) described and depicted the Irish in much the same ways in which they described and depicted Black Africans and West Indians: as strong, stupid, ruled by passions, and resembling chimpanzees."

The price paid by American terrorists

It’s been over 200 years since the American Revolution, but many people need to be reminded about the price that the patriots paid at the hands of the British. The signers of the Declaration of Independence pledged it all:

"For the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of the Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor."

So, how did these rebellous American terrorists fare?

  • Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
  • Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army, another had two sons captured. Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or the hardships of the Revolutionary War.
  • Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British navy. He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.
  • Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly. He served in the Congress without pay, and his family was kept in hiding. His possessions were taken from him, and poverty was his reward.
  • At the Battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis, had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters. The owner quietly urged General George Washington to open fire, which was done. The home was destroyed, and Nelson died bankrupt.
  • Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.
  • John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his grist mill were laid waste. For more than a year he lived in forests and caves, returning home after the war to find his wife dead, his children vanished. A few weeks later he died from exhaustion and a broken heart.

Honoring the Revolutionary soldiers

The 4th of July is special to any D.A.R or S.A.R. member, and we get a chance to honor our valliant ancestors. As I noted, there were eight Burleson’s who fought in the American Revolution (many with Puritan names like Fearnot Burleson), and my direct ancestor Aaron Burleson. Genealogist Thurmon Burleson spent years finding Aaron’s grave, hidden in the woods of North Carolina. My dedicated cousins J.D. Burleson and P.K. Burleson have greatly honored our family and he helped arrange a proper military headstone for our brave patriot:

Let’s remember why we celebrate the 4th of July and celebrate our freedom and the brave patriots who pledged their sacred honor to defend liberty.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

The gold-mine of irresponsible blogging

Make sure to check-out today’s Doonesbury where Slackmeyer notes:

“Isn’t blogging basically for angry, semi-employed losers who are too untalented or too lazy to get a real job in journalism?”

I had to LOL when I read this, because after all the crapola about blogs and ”the blogsphere”, people are starting to recognize that nobody cares! Believe it or not, there are people who really believe that empowering gossipy old Aunt Sara with the right to publish her juicy tidbits is going to revolutionize the dissemination of information.

Oh please. . .

Enter the Litigators

The only people who like blogs are the attorneys. Lawyers tell me that the only benefit from blogs is the inevitable Libel lawsuits, usually by dullards who don’t understand the difference between free speech and defamation!

Thank God, Judges are not stupid, and I can guarantee that once a few multi-million dollar lawsuits are won by victims, that blogs will be prohibited by corporations and forums will require proof of identity (like Amazon’s “real person” comment feature) for all corporate forums. This, from the WANTED link below:

"The people who posted their vile and defamatory comments are probably one and the same person. Their names are of course fictitious. The lack of security on your Blog needs to be addressed immediately."

Check-back here in 2008, and you will see that I’m right-on!

Smart publishers don’t allow blog comments

If you write in your blog you are a journalist, and if your blog accepts comments, you may be a publisher, and partially responsible for any defamation posted by commenter’s, even if they are anonymous!

Some people really believe that statements like this are protected under the First Amendment:

“In my opinion, I believe that John Doe is a crook, a tax cheat and a philatelist”

If your blog comments have a defamatory statements it is possible that you could be hailed into a foreign court. For example, Ontario Canada’s repressive libel laws have made it a Mecca for libel lawsuits.

Canadian libel law is so draconian that people come from all over the world to file libel suits in Ontario.

Blog litigation will improve the web

Personally, I strongly believe in responsible journalism and whenever I find someone who has been defamed I make sure that they know the phone number of one of my lawyer buds!

In an article titled “Libel - Can They Do That and Get Away With It?” we see that instant millionaires are being created by wealthy bloggers who don’t understand the limits of free speech:

“No matter how powerful the media seem to be, there are ways to get even if a story damages you unjustly. Sue. For libel, or invasion of privacy. The lawsuit might make you a millionaire.”

When you apply the centuries-old case law for publisher responsibility, judges are so outraged that many have no problem awarding the victim all of their court costs.

In this recent case, (where one expert performed “character assassination” against another expert), the plaintiff got $2,500,000 plus the court costs of $875,000. The 21st century “ambulance chasers” are savvy lawyers who troll for blog libelers with assets, contact their victims, and slam them with monster lawsuits!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Still sexy after all these years. . . .

When I settled down and got married (and gained 100 pounds), I thought that I would be relieved of the burden of being considered a sex symbol.

Back in my younger days when I was trim and athletic I used to drive the ladies crazy, and it really bothered me that women loved me just for my good looks.

I probably should have been more modest and not lifted-up my t-shirt:

Compounding my problem is I’ve become the poster-child for rednecks across the globe.

Sigh. . . I guess that it’s my cross-to-bear, but I just hope that folks can see-past my appearance and focus on my technical ability. . .